Modeling is in many ways an exiting and fun thing to do, but I also think that it’s a job that is misunderstood by many people. Some time ago, I found my diary of when I was 12 years old. One day, I wrote that I just finished watching America’s next top model, and how amazing it would be if I could be a model one day. Getting the fabulous makeover, doing the most fun and beautiful shoots for big companies, and getting catwalk lessons from Miss Jay.
What I didn’t know when I was 12 years old, and what a lot of people still don’t know or just forget, is that the life of your ordinary model is nothing (and not even close) like that. The average age when somebody starts modeling is when they’re around 16-18 years old. At that age, you think you know the world, yourself and everybody around you. You get scouted, or you find an agency that would like to work with you, and you sign the contract.
After working on your portfolio with some photographers in your hometown, they will give you the exiting news that you have the chance to go international and fly to a different country to work there as a model. You’re a little nervous, but you also feel like it’s finally happening and your dreams are coming true. An agency so far away asked for you!
I was still going to school when I got this opportunity, but luckily got an amount of time off to go to Italy. The contract said I had to stay there for three months. At that age, I was still living at home with my family, and had never left for such a long time, let alone fly somewhere all by myself. Saying goodbye to my parents at the airport was quite hard, but when I was sitting in the plane all I could feel was the excitement for this new adventure.
So there I was, a young girl, in a rainy Milan, with 2 suitcases and a bag. I had a printed email where was written which metro lines I had to take, the two different busses, and what streets I had to walk to arrive in the model apartment. In that time, I didn’t have internet on my phone with google maps on it, so of course I got lost. A little set back.. Why hadn’t they just ordered me a taxi to drive me to the apartment? I did eventually arrive in the apartment, that i had to share with 4 other girls.
There, in a bad neighborhood in Milan, was the start of a 4 year long story where I had to deal with daily rejection, people telling me I was too fat, too skinny, thousands of castings, hours and hours waisted while waiting, loneliness, agency’s that did not pay, unfriendly clients, many moments of being lost, failed diets, touchy photographers, lawyers, and.. the occasional nice job.
The reason I can not watch a “next top model” episode anymore, or read another interview with that top model that all of a sudden was discovered on the streets of New York while walking there with her already famous family member, is that I now feel like it is not fair to my 12 year old self. And, to all of the other young girls out there.
Obviously there were great things too that happened in these four years, and I’ve learned more then when I would have stayed at home. I wouldn’t be where I am today otherwise. I just wish that somebody could change that stereotype idea of a model where it’s all so glamorous, everything is easy and everybody is effortlessly beautiful and healthy. It would let young girls and boys, maybe realize that modeling is just like any other job there is out there. It has positive sides, but there are negative sides too.
So, at the end of this story, I will applaud all of the amazing models that I have met during this time. Not the famous Instagram girls that are doing another magazine cover, but all of those that run between ten castings a day, get rejected, sleep in dirty apartments and still keep going and trying to have fun in the mean time. Those models are the real Top models.